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 English idioms to know

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: English idioms to know   Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:54 pm

English idioms to know

as such – in or by its nature; considered alone; (in) itself [also means in that capacity or function]
to consist of – to be made (up) of; to be composed of; to comprise
in itself – standing or taken alone or separately; viewed or considered by itself as a thing isolated or apart from other things
in the nature of – being similar in type or character to; rather like
in (its) own right – because of what it is as such or in itself and independent of any other relationship
in the shape of – specifically; in the form of; in particular; namely (followed by details of something general)
of (its) own accord – spontaneously; as a result of one’s own action, will or decision and not because of some outside influence or action.

according to – following; corresponding to; in relation to; as said by; depending on
in accordance with – following the terms or requirements of; (acting) in conformity with; as stated by; in line with
as to – about; regarding
(got) to do with – connected with; related to
hand in hand – working together or as a team; in conjunction with; as a complement to
in conjunction (with) – operation, functioning, working, acting or planning together; in collaboration
in connection (with) – about, concerning, relation or relevant to
to refer to – to have connection with; to direct attention to [also means to formally transfer from one authority to another]
in terms of – by taking as an example of; concerning; with regard to
on behalf of – as representative or spokesman for
(in) touch with – in contact by the spoken or written word
to be in touch – to be in contact
to get in touch – to make contact
to keep or stay in touch – to continue contact
to lose touch – to lose contact
out of touch – not in contact
with regard to – concerning; regarding; in connection with; in terms of; referring to.

to arise from – to originate from; to be due to; to be caused by
to bring about – to cause; to make (something) happen; to give rise to
to give rise to – to cause; to bring about
to have an effect or impact on – to affect; to influence
to result in – to be (or have as) the result [Note: to result from means to be (or have as) the cause]
to stem from – to originate from; to be caused by
to trigger off – to cause or bring about (an important or serious effect, often negative, sudden or violent) [also to spark off; to touch off].

above all (else) – most importantly (of all)
all important – most important; urgent or necessary
first and foremost – firstly and most important
(the) first step – the first stage, or part, of some process or series of actions
last but not least – introducing the next item on the list, which, although the last, is not less important than the others
to take (first) place – to be (the most) important; to have (top) priority.

to aim at – to plan to, or to try to, reach or hit an objective, goal or target
the aim of the exercise – the purpose or objective of this activity, which may not immediately be clear or apparent [also the point or object of the exercise]
to arrange (for) – to fix or make practical plans for something to happen or to be done
game plan – carefully thought out general strategy for achieving a target and the tactics and methods to be used
to go ahead – to make progress; to move forward; to start or continue from a static or waiting position
to go for (it) – to be very enthusiastic and positive in feeling and action, usually about some specific thing or goal [informal]
in order to – with the purpose or aim of doing or causing smth; so as to
to make up one’s mind – to decide
a means to an end – way or method of getting to an objective
on purpose – not by accident or chance, but by or with some intention; deliberately
to put together – to assemble or fit together pieces or parts to make a whole
to set up – to establish; to found; to organize; to put in a position or condition to operate; to begin doing or making; to arrange
to tackle – to take firm direct and positive action in dealing with a threat or obstacle
to take action (on) – to act, either in response to or as a result of circumstances, or some decision; to deal with
to take steps – to take a series of actions towards a specific objective
to take the initiative – to be the first to make a move, forcing others to react accordingly
with a view to – with the aim, purpose or object of (doing) smth [also with an eye to].

to come to the point – to arrive directly at the focus, or most important part, of a speaking or writing activity
the fact of the matter is (that) (emphatic) the truth is; the most important thing is
to focus on – to concentrate on; to direct one hundred per cent attention to
to get down to business – to begin to talk seriously; to tackle the real or important matter(s)
to get to the bottom of – to find the cause of, or the answer to, a problem or question
hard facts – definite or specific facts which can be proved, checked or examined (in contrast to mere rumour, opinions, general statements or hopes)
in contrast to (or with) - different from; distinct from; opposite to
in fact – the truth, or reality, is that; really; truly
in reality – to be absolutely correct; really; actually
in (this) respect – focusing on only (one of) a number of factors; considering this factor in isolation
a matter of – a factor likely to be influential; a situation, matter, issue, thing, question, problem or topic which is most important or on which smth depends [also a question of]
to spotlight – to put special focus or attention on (a person or thing)
to zero in on – to identify and concentrate on some target.

ahead of time (or schedule) – earlier than arranged, expected or planned [Note: opposite in meaning to behind time (or schedule)]
at first – originally; in the first instance; at/in the beginning; to start with; at the time of starting
at once – immediately; very soon; right away
as yet – up to now; up to the time of speaking; so far
at (or from) the outset – at, from or shortly after some starting point; or from the first or early stages
for the time being – temporarily; for the moment
in the course of – during; while; while being done
in future – starting from this (or that) time; from now (or then) on
in the future – at or during some future time
in the long run – eventually; over or after a long time
in the long (short or medium) term – thinking, looking or planning from now into the future
in the meantime – meanwhile, for the time being
in a moment – shortly; very soon; almost immediately
in time – soon or early enough; not too late; at or before the right time
to look forward to – to think about some future time or event with positive, good feelings
moment of truth – the final and unavoidable point of crisis, change, confrontation or decision
on time – exactly at the right time, not late
right (or straight) away – now; immediately; at once.

to amount to – to total; to mean; to result in
and so on – and other similar details; et cetera
as a whole – taken or considered all together; in aggregate
at all – to any, or to some, extent or degree; in any way
at least – to this minimum extent or amount or degree (and perhaps more)
at (the) most – up to (but certainly not more than) a given maximum
at the outside – as the highest estimate [also means at the most]
to average out at – to calculate or be calculated as an average
to be exact – to be more precise; to define exactly or accurately
give or take – more or less (by an approximate amount) than a certain amount
a good (or great) deal of – much; a lot of (+ uncountable noun)
in (the) aggregate – when totalled; considered together (not individually); taken as a whole
in all – in total; altogether; all told
in (or of) all shapes and sized – (being) of many or various different kinds, types, forms, measurements or descriptions
in excess of – more than
in full – completely; fully; totally; with nothing left out
more or less – approximately; virtually; to a slightly bigger or smaller extent, amount or degree (than)
on average – taking an amount or figure which represents the combined total of a given number of units (x) divided by the total number of units (y)
on a (large) scale – in (large) numbers; at a (high) level; to a(n) (great) extent
or so – approximately; about; roughly; more or less; give or take.

back and forth – movement from one position to another, before returning to the first position again, usually again and again regularly [also backwards and forwards and to and fro]
every other (or every second) – in a sequence, with the focus on the second, fourth, sixth and so on
in lieu (of) – instead (of)
in place of – instead of; as a replacement
in turn – in sequence; one after another; according to some pattern of events [also means reciprocally]
to vary from … to (or between) – to fluctuate between certain given limits [also to range from … to].
at will – as or when one pleases; without restriction or limit
for sure – this is certain; there is no doubt
in all probability – most probably; more certain than not; in all likelihood
in any case – in any event; whatever happens; anyway
it’s as simple as that – the fact is so clear that no further reason or explanation is required
no problem – this is simple; without difficulty or inconvenience [informal]
of course – this is natural or to be expected
to rule out – to forbid or prohibit the possibility; to consider as impossible
a safe bet – almost one hundred percent certain [informal]
to stand to – to be in a position where, if and when an event takes place, some advantage or disadvantage is likely to occur [also to stand a chance]
to take place – to happen; to occur.

to allow for – to take into consideration or account
better safe than sorry – it is better to be too careful than to take risks
bit by bit – in small pieces or stages; gradually
to carry out – to fulfill; to perfom; to complete or finish successfully
to check over – to look at carefully and efficiently in order to find out if there are any problems or mistakes
a dry (or dummy) run – an experiment or trial of a machine or project under realistic (but not real) conditions
in depth – completely and in detail; not superficially
in detail – with every part, detail or item mentioned or included
the ins and outs (of) – all the details
to keep an eye on – to watch carefully; to guard, in case of some (stated or unstated) risk or possibility
to look into – to investigate; to examine carefully; to inquire
to make sure (or certain) – to ensure; to check or verify [also means to cause or make smth inevitable]
to plan (or think) ahead – to prepare for the future; to make calculated future arrangements
to take care (not) (to) – to make sure/certain of (not) doing smth
to think out – to plan or consider carefully, in depth, in every aspect, especially smth to be decided now which may be of future importance
to try out – to test or use (smth or smo) for a trial period.

(at) random - without specific aim; unsystematic
(by) trial and error – finding the right method or solution by the primitive process of making changes in measurements or calculations until finally there are no errors
to cut corners – to follow a quick but risky route to an objective, especially by not performing all the usual stages of some process
hit and miss – unsystematic; random; relying on chance; not property thought out or carried out
the line (or path) of least resistance – the easiest (though probably not the best) way or course of action [same as to take the easy way out]
(a) short cut – a quicker way or method than usual of reaching an objective, by not following the usual way, pattern or procedure
(a) soft option – an easier, less inconvenient (and generally less effective) method or course of action than others available or possible
to take (a) chance(s) (on) – to try to do, or to take action on smth, knowing that there is a possibility of negative results; to run (a) rik(s)
to take the easy way out (of) – to avoid dealing directly with a problem, difficulty or situation by taking some other action [same as to take the line of least resistance]
to take risks or to run the risk of – to follow a course of action, knowing that it may lead to negative results; to take (a) chance(s).

all systems go – to be in a condition or attitude of total readiness to go ahead
to break new ground – to enter a new area of discovery or knowledge; to be a pioneer
to break the ice – to do or say smth to ease tensions between people; to start to create a more sociable, relaxed atmosphere, usually on first meeting [icebreaking]
to break through – to make sudden, positive progress by pushing through a seen or unseen barrier or obstacle [breakthrough]
to come up with – to create; devise; produce; find
to forge ahead – to make very good or rapid progress against all resistance; to develop or improve quickly
to get to (or to reach) first base (with) – to complete the first step of a series of stages towards some objective [to get past/beyond first base]
to make headway – to make progress in a particular direction, in spite of any problems or difficulties
to make progress – to move forward; to advance or to improve from some actual or imaginary starting point towards some actual or abstract objective
to open doors (for) – to prepare the ground for some future development; to create possibilities or opportunities; to break through obstacles [to pave the way (for)]
(a) step (forward) – positive movement towards an objective or improvement
to take shape – to progress from some general or uncertain theory, idea or plan towards smth with definite shape or form (but not yet completed)
to take (a) step – to take some particular action.

all or nothing – to be or to be aiming at one hundred per cent of smth, the only alternative being zero per cent
back against the wall – in a very difficult position; with few or no choices as to what action to take
to complete against – to try to beat or to oppose in competition
to cope (with) - to manage a problem; to deal successfully with a difficulty
to cut one’s losses – to end or withdraw from a bad situation which can only get worse [loss-cutting]
(a) drawback – a disadvantage
to face up to – to accept smth difficult or unpleasant and confront it
in the (or as a) last resort – the only real or remaining answer or possibility when every factor or possibility has been examined, considered or tried
(a) long shot – an attempt which is unlikely to succeed
to make do (with) – to manage with or accept smth which is less than one wants or needs, because there is no other choice
make or break – to be the cause or instrument of success or failure
on the blink – not working properly; needing servicing or repair
to run (or come or be) up against - to be, or arrive, at a position where positive progress or forward movement is, or may be, blocked
to save the situation – to find an answer to a serious problem [to save the day, to save (or lose) face]
a snap (decision) – a decision taken quickly, often in response to an urgent situation, where not enough time is given to weigh up all relevant factors and possible results
the tip of the iceberg – the small, visible, part of smth much larger, the greater part of which cannot be seen [often used with negative meaning]
without fail – this is one hundred per cent sure or necessary
worth (doing) or worth it or worthwhile – likely to pay useful dividends in return for time or effort spent.

to bear fruit – to produce a result
(the) end product – the final result, after completion of some process or a series of actions
for sale – on the market and available, or open, to offers to buy
in the black – operating in credit, in profit, or with a (cash) surplus; with (current) assets in axcess of (current) liabilities
to make a profit – to sell smth for more than it costs to produce [opposite in meaning to to make a loss] [profit-making]
to make money – to get, obtain or gain money through some activity [opposite in meaning to to lose money] [money-maker]
to make … work – to put and keep smth in satisfactory working order or condition, to make smth operative
to pay dividends – to produce good results
to pay (one’s) way – to produce enough money to cover or pay one’s operating or running expenses
to pull off – to carry out successfully, using skill and/or persistence, in spite of all difficulties
to take effect – to become effective or operational in fact; to have, or show, the (intended) result of some plan or action

to be (or go) out of action – to not work or operate; to fail to function or to stop working/operating/functioning
to break down – to fail; to collapse; to stop [also means to destroy]
(a) dead end – a path going nowhere; a direction or course from which there is no exit or which results in no progress [dead-end can be used as a noun]
dud – not performing the required or expected function; ineffective in result or effect
to go dead (on) – to stop working, responding or developing
to go wrong – to make a mistake; to miscalculate or misjudge; to develop negative characteristics
in the red – operationg in debit, at a loss, or with a (cash) deficit; with (current) liabilities in excess of (current) assets
in vain – unsuccessfully; without reaching one’s objective; with no result
to make a loss – to sell smth for less than its production cost [opposite in meaning to to make a profit] [loss-making]
to pay the penalty (or price) for – to suffer the negative result of one’s actions
to reach a stalemate - (in negotiation, etc) to arrive at a position where no progress can be made, where neither side can win or lose [also to reach a deadlock]
to be (or to fall) short of – to be less than needed, wanted or expected; to lack smth; to not be enough [shortfall]
to take the consequences – to accept the (negative) results of some (risky or foolish) action
(a) vicious circle – a negative situation in which any action leads only to further negative results

to back down – to show a marked change of attitude or position, from being in confrontation to being passive, neutral or accepting; to withdraw
to back out (of) – to fail to carry out (or to withdraw from) some promise, arrangement, agreement or obligation
to break off – to end suddenly [also means to pause in speaking or working]
to keep (one’s) options open – to decide against taking any firm decision now, in favour of keeping a free choice for later
to lay (it) on the line – to speak clearly and frankly; to make one’s position obvious [also to spell (it) out]
to mean business – to be serious or determined in executing some intention; to be purposeful
to play ball (with) – to cooperate or negotiate with a view to doing business or reaching some agreement [informal]
to put (the) pressure on – to try to improve one’s position by use of persistence, forcefulness or threats
to rely on – to depend on; to trust
to soften up – to reduce resistance or to weaken opposition or hostility in order to achieve an objective more easily
to stand (or stick) out for – to be firmly decided not to accept less than one wants, even if it means waiting for it [also to hold out for]
to take a (firm) line (or stand) on/over – to show a (determined) intention, attitude or approach
to take (someone) out of – to use argument or discussion to persuade someone not to do smth
to take (someone) round – to persuade someone to change an attitude, intention or decision [also means to avoid speaking directly about smth]
to withdraw (from) – to leave or move away from an unsatisfactory or dangerous situation [withdrawal]
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